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Last Updated: Friday, 24 December 2004, 13:27 GMT
Christmas chaos - are you safe?
by Catherine Cashmore
BBC News, East Midlands

Christmas trees
Armed and dangerous
People poking themselves in the eye with Christmas trees and stepping on glass baubles are just some of the injuries doctors in the East Midlands are dealing with this Christmas.

Nationally more than 80,000 people are expected to turn up at accident and emergency departments over the 12 days of Christmas.

Decorations are the worst culprits, with 2,350 people injured trying to get their homes into the festive spirit.

Christmas trees are also a dangerous weapon with as many as 1,000 people expected to be injured by them.

Roger Vincent, spokesperson for RoSPA said: "There's cases of people going up into lofts to get decorations down and falling and people falling while putting the fairy on top of the Christmas tree.

"People have also poked themselves in the eyes with Christmas trees."

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accident (Rospa) says every year, there are many tragedies around Christmas because people are having a good time and are not doing the usual safety checks.

"We have had some terrible tragedies where candles have been left burning.

"Always check around before you go to bed and you should never put candles on Christmas trees.

"You see these lovely trees on Victorian-style Christmas cards and people put candles on their trees - even if they don't intend to light them, children may see them and think they should be lit and before you know it you've got a badly burnt child."

A bearded stranger left one woman needing surgery

But it's not just at home that people face more risks at Christmas.

One woman broke her nose in Woolworths in Leicester after walking into a glass window when she was distracted by the appearance of Father Christmas and his elves.

Bridget Blair, 30, said: "I had to have my nose reset afterwards, my face was black and purple, I just felt such a prat.

"I could see Father Christmas walking from the shop opposite and I was so busy looking at his elves that I whacked myself on the glass.

"It was a real thump, I saw stars and the next thing I knew I was coming round in the window of the store, with cotton wool shoved up my nose - there was blood everywhere.

"I looked like a panda the next day - I've never lived it down."

Many of the walking wounded will make their way to NHS walk-in centres.

Lead nurse at the Nottingham centre, Anne Simpson said: "We've commonly seen things like minor lacerations where people are chopping vegetables, gravy burns or from juice dripping out the turkey.

"We also get a lot of children who fall off their new bikes.

"For every new bicycle you need to be buying a new helmet and the same goes for skateboards."

But why are we so clumsy at a time when we should be enjoying ourselves?

Researchers are blaming the "ready meal lifestyle" with many people unused to cooking a big meal and for so many people, in this way they underestimate the time it will take leading to them taking risks.

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